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help singing whilst playing

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by TD3691, Mar 5, 2010.

  1. hey guys,
    am having a little trouble singing and playing lately (mainly being I cant hear my self over my amp and everyone else's) also I tend to have gaps in my vocals where i move away from my mic to look at the fretboard for a millisecond (its still noticeable in the sound).

    do you guys have any tips, techniques or exercise i could do to erase this fault.
  2. smogg


    Mar 27, 2007
    NPR, Florida
    I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell
    Headset & better vocal monitor.
  3. pedulla-2007

    pedulla-2007 Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2008
    Been trying for 32 yrs. You got it or you don't.
  4. slc34


    Jul 24, 2007
    +1 on a better vocal monitor or maybe in ears. As far as gaps in your vocals, when I sing leads, I tend to angle my mic slightly toward the floor so my head is tilted forward a bit. This way I can just move my eyes to see the fretboard and not my entire head. I also practice the songs I sing without looking down so i get used to the movements. Good Luck!
  5. goldenglory18


    Nov 30, 2009
    Los Angeles
    Amateur. Take my advice for its resale value.
    Here are some tips that worked for me....

    *Wear ear plugs while singing. This allows you to "feel" your instrument and "hear" your own voice. I could easily hear myself go out of key/tune while playing this way.
    *Practice as much as you can in the dark/blind. If you can get yourself to play 90% in the dark, you will get exponentially better when the stage lights are on.
    *Angle the mic in a way that allows for a bit of movement in your body/head while playing. Expierement a bit with it and I'm sure you will find something that works well.
    *Practice, practice, practice and practice some more.........you will get it eventually.
  6. Hi.

    There ain't no short cuts to it, and some people will never be able to do it no matter how they try.

    This is the way I do it, the neck at an approximately 45 degrees in relation with the mic. A glance is all that it usually takes, but it's comfortable to know the "crutch" is there ;).

  7. t bake

    t bake

    Dec 26, 2009
    Try playing without singing and not looking at all block it out then try talking to someone while playing a line you know well then talking over the bass line giving you trouble,that method works well for me with vocal lines that kick my butt, kinda makes each part stand alone in my mind keep at you will get it.God bless Gig On!!!
  8. Amen. That pretty much sums it up.

    I had a really tough time learning to sing and play. I never thought I could sing so I never bothered to learn how until one of my bandmates heard me singing, just goofing around while setting up and said "hey, you ought to give it a shot". I played for over 20 years was happy and never sang a note while performing. Now I sing about 1/3 of our setlist, lead on some and harmony on others. The only thing I'd add is make playing and singing automatic. What has helped me is to learn the words so I can recall them at a moments notice. I sing in the car/shower/working on the computer/at work anywhere to get them engraved in my head so I don't have to focus on what comes next. That way I can kind of set the vocals on autopilot and concentrate on what I'm playing.

    Another thing that helps me personally is mic placement. It took a while and some experimentation to figure this out. I have a boom stand. Rather than having it right in front of me I stand it off the the right side(I play right handed) and have the mic come in from the side, like a keyboard/piano player. This for whatever reason feels like I can see my left hand easier if I need to look. I can pull my bass' neck to the front a little to see my hand without (A) hitting the mic stand and making an unholy thunk and (B) I don't have to move my head and take it away from the mic where my vocals aren't being picked up. Alot of this though is trial and error. It took several practices and watching some other folks do it to get some ideas on things to experiment with.

    But the silver bullet like a few have said here is just to practice, practice, practice.

    Good luck!!
  9. StonedLikeSloth


    Feb 27, 2010
    I agree it's either you have it or you don't. Ever since the first few times I tried singing and playing, it has just come really naturally. On some extremely tough songs, it takes practice. But for the most part it just flows through me. Practice practice practice.
  10. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    I've been trying to do this more (harmonies only) on the request of bands I'm in and it sucks ass. I would like nothing better than just to play bass all night and never be anywhere near a mic, but when you're only doing 4- or 5-member projects sometimes you've just got to step up (literally). And unfortunately, a great singer who can only sort of play bass is oftentimes more valued than a great bassist who can't (or won't) sing... I lost an audition one time that way.

    Best thing I've found is to get your bass parts dead rock solid so that they literally play themselves. Then you can focus more on the singing. You have to put yourself in a mental state while you're singing where you don't even know you're playing bass... it's like you're listening to someone else play bass and you're singing on top of it.

    For me the hardest part is not staying in pitch, it's singing and playing rhythmically correct when the vocal and bass rhythms are never the same and quite often opposite each other. Also you can't just be listening to the drums and your bass anymore, you have to be listening to your voice, the lead and any other harmony vocals as well. For this reason I often position myself at a midpoint back from the frontline (i.e., halfway between the front line and the drummer) so that even when I'm on mic I'm still close enough to the drummer to "feel" what he's doing and stay locked-in.

    But all this being said, honestly on certain songs I just have to tell the band, look, this is too much to handle on this song and the vox and the bass are both gonna blow if I try to do both so I'm just gonna play bass on this one. They're usually OK with that.
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